I’ve always liked the Love Bank visualization as way to understand the emotional needs we each have in marriage.
Understanding the Love Bank
The concept of the Love Bank is simple. Each of us maintains a subconscious record of relational deposits and withdrawals by our spouse.
Deposits are those words and actions that encourage us, make us feel valued, offer respect, deepen our sense of connection and build our level of intimacy. These positives help us be more transparent, comfortable and relaxed with each other.
Withdrawals are the opposite. They reduce our emotional connection with our spouse. They introduce worry, concern and insecurity about the relationship. They cause us to pull back, distrust, and feel more anxious in our interactions.
When I make deposits in my spouse’s Love Bank, it means I am sincerely attempting to be empathetic, loving, and transparent with them. I’m recognizing their value, emphasizing what God’s doing in their lives and publicizing it to others.
Checking Your Balance
That’s why we must be aware of the Love Bank and regularly communicate how our “balance” is doing. A good way is to ask these types of questions.
How are “we” doing?
How can I better encourage you and support you?
What are some ways I can show you more affection and tenderness?
What should I stop doing that is harming our trust and intimacy?
Where do we need to connect more deeply this week?
Keeping Lists and the Love Bank
When Paul writes of “love” in 1st Corinthians, he mentions that “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” And this is something that many of us struggle with.
When we make lists of things our spouse does and then unload them as criticism, we’ve not loved well. But the Love Bank is a little different from this.
Our Love Bank is more subconscious. It is where our hearts maintain a sense of how our intimacy is doing. That is why it is so critical to guard and communicate about it.
Love Bank Issues
In studies about conflict with couples, there is often NO ONE THING they are having issues with. Sure it might seem that the conversation is about money, sex, hobbies, work, parenting and extended family.
But more often than not, the disagreements are deeper. They are questions about the “state” of the relationship.
Beneath the conflict is the question we ask each day, “Do you still love, accept, value and want me?”.
Here is what studies have shown:
“An Emotional Bank Account grows when partners make more deposits than withdrawals. In a six-year follow-up study of newlywed couples, couples who remained married turned toward their partner’s bids for emotional connection 86% of the time in the lab, while those who divorced averaged 33%. The difference between happy and unhappy couples is how they manage their Emotional Bank Account.
When the Emotional Bank Account is in the red, partners tend to question each other’s intentions and feel disconnected, or even lonely.
But when the Emotional Bank Account is in the green, partners tend to give each other the benefit of the doubt during conflict. They keep their relationship in the positive perspective.”
The Deposit/Withdrawal Relationship
The last thing you should know about you and your spouse’s Love Bank is that there are some guidelines to follow.
Studies have shown that healthy marriages maintain a 5 to 1 ratio of deposits to withdrawals.
While we wish it was 1 to 1, it isn’t.
That’s why it is so important to daily communicate to your spouse your love, affection, gratitude and care. Each of those is a deposit in the Love Bank, which then strengthens their heart.
Then when the inevitable conflicts arise we are ready. The balance in our Love Bank makes our intimacy more resilient. It helps us avoid extreme highs and lows in our relationship.
Increasing your Deposits
1. Be understanding of each other’s different responses and emotions. It’s not always about you.
2. Be affectionate every day. Life is tough and we need encouragement.
3. Stay aware of your spouse’s emotional state. Ask kind questions.
4. Express appreciation for the little things. Especially the things you take for granted.
5. Talk about how you are feeling about your life. Don’t assume it is no big deal or that your spouse already knows.
The concept of a Love Bank also has application to our relationships with our children, friends and relatives. So keep that in mind as well.
But most importantly we have a Love Bank in our relationship with our heavenly Father and with Jesus.
The scriptures are full of examples of God making deposits in our Love Bank. The first deposit is Jesus coming to our rescue. The next is giving us his promises in the scripture. Then we see Him sending the Holy Spirit to live in us. And now we have the assurance of eternal life! Just as your respond to your spouse it is good for your heart to respond to your Creator and greatest lover. Let Him fill your Love Bank and respond to him as well.